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I have noticed that there seem to be many words that have travelled the globe due to trade, such as the word orange or rice, which have plausible origins in proto-Dravidian. Meanwhile, it is hypothesized that the language (if it is a language, which some people argue against) recorded in the Indus script is a Dravidian one. All this makes me wonder if these numerous possibly-Dravidian Wanderworts are indicative of the Indus Valley Civilization's success in trade.

This page of Wikipedia lists 7 English words with possible Dravidian origins, notably:

  • Orange, through Old French orenge, Medieval Latin orenge and Italian arancia from Arabic نارنج naranj, via Persian نارنگ narang and Sanskrit नारङ्ग naranga-s meaning "an orange tree", derived from proto-Dravidian.
  • Rice, via Old French ris and Italian riso from Latin oriza, which is from Greek ὄρυζα oryza, through an Indo-Iranian tongue finally from Sanskrit व्रीहिस् vrihi-s "rice", derived from proto-Dravidian.
  • Sugar, through Old French sucre, Italian zucchero, Medieval Latin succarum, Arabic: سكر sukkar and Persian: شکر shakar ultimately from Sanskrit शर्करा sharkara which means "ground or candied sugar" (originally "grit" or "gravel"), from proto-Dravidian.

So, is it likely that the Dravidian language that these words came from is the language of the Indus Valley Civilization? Is this a poor, uninformed idea? or, alternatively, am I late to the party and this is already intuitively obvious to historians? What are your thoughts?

closed as off-topic by Peter Shor , John Lawler, Robusto, TimLymington, James McLeod Dec 14 '13 at 19:16

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    Did the Indus Valley civilization eat oranges, rice, and sugar? This webpage says they ate barley, melon, and pomegranates, but I suppose they could have eaten oranges and rice as well. Anyway, it's not an English question, so we probably will close it. You could ask it on linguistics.SE. – Peter Shor Dec 14 '13 at 15:50
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about English but proto-Dravidian. – Peter Shor Dec 14 '13 at 15:55
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    @PeterShor I agree, but I asked this elsewhere and they referred me here saying that the historical linguists hang out here. I also initially thought it would not be suited for a discussion of English, but what they said made sense and I figured it was worth a try. – mhenderson Dec 14 '13 at 18:03

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